One of the greatest physical insecurities that men experience is whether their phallus measures up. In a 2006 Internet study using a very large sample of heterosexual participants (52,031), Lever, Frederick, and Peplau (2006) found that whereas the great majority of women (85%) were content with their partners' penis size, a much smaller percentage of men were satisfied with the size of their own penises (55%). Of note, only 0.2% of men wished to have a smaller penis!
Given men's concern about the size of their penises, I tackle three penile-related issues in today's post: (1) Are visible traits such as a man's shoe size correlated to his penis size? (2) How important is penis size to women; and (3) Does a penis' girth or length contribute more to a woman's sexual pleasure?
Penis Size and Shoe Size
Shah and Christopher (2002), two urologists in London (England), measured the stretched penises of 104 men who did not otherwise have any penile abnormalities. The participants' shoe sizes were also recorded. A linear regression was performed between the two variables, which yielded an r-squared value of 0.012 (p = 0.28), which implies that there is no statistically significant correlation between the two variables. This must be a relief to those men who wear a small shoe size!
Do Women Care About Penis Size?
In a 2002 study published in European Urology, Francken, van de Wiel, van Driel, and Schultz asked women the importance that they attributed to penile size using two metrics: length and girth. Importance was captured via a four-item scale (totally unimportant, unimportant, important, and very important). One hundred and seventy surveys were returned. In general, most women felt that penile size was unimportant to them. Specifically, 20% and 1% of the women thought that penile length was important and very important respectively. The corresponding percentages for penile thickness were 31% (important) and 2% (very important) respectively. It would appear that to the extent that size matters, girth is more important than length. Of note, the authors seem to have identified the well-known "size queen" effect, as those women who cared about one metric seemed to also care about the other (correlation = 0.71).
Length versus Girth and Female Sexual Pleasure
We've all heard the colloquialism that it is not the size of the boat that matters but rather the motion of the ocean. This perhaps originated from the classic works of Masters and Johnson, these having concluded that there were no physiological reasons to expect that a man's penis size would affect a woman's sexual pleasure. In 2001, Russell Eisenman published a paper in BMC Women's Health wherein 50 women were asked whether girth or length contributed more to their sexual pleasure. Ninety-percent of the surveyed women responded that the thickness of a penis was a more important elicitor of pleasure. None of the women responded that they could not tell the difference between the two metrics. This suggests that to the extent that a man's penis size is important to a woman's sexual pleasure, it all resides in the thickness.
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